Scott Marsh is the first to admit that he never thought he’d find himself in the cage, trying to help St. Mary’s collect wins. But that’s exactly where the Crofton native and South River graduate found himself Wednesday afternoon at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field.
The Seahawks eventually lost, 11-6, to No. 12 Denison, but not because of Marsh, who finished with a game-high 14 saves in 34 minutes of work.
Marsh has taken a circuitous route to get to this stage. He spent his freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College and then played for the club team as a sophomore and junior.
Electing to try out for the varsity squad, Marsh played well enough in the fall to assert himself as the No. 2 goalkeeper, but broke his right thumb in the preseason. He underwent surgery and was only cleared to return to the team last week.
Marsh, who replaced freshman Joey Casey with four minutes left in the second quarter, acknowledged the surreal nature of his journey.
“It’s pretty bizarre,” he said. “I never really thought I’d be playing real lacrosse again. Club’s always fun, but I got the opportunity. So I took it. I had a little bit of a mishap early in the year with my thumb, but I came back strong after surgery and just worked hard.”
Casey, an Ellicott City native and a Mount St. Joseph graduate, had registered an 11.09 goals-against average and a .520 save percentage in five starts, but made just two saves while surrendering seven goals to the Big Red.
“We knew going in that would be one of the biggest challenges that we faced, finding that starting keeper,” coach Chris Hasbrouck said. “Scott was certainly in the mix. Joey has played great in games. This game, he definitely was not seeing the ball. So we decided to make the change, and I always tell guys that when you get the opportunity, make the most. Scott definitely did. He stepped up and played very well for us.”
Asked if Marsh had earned the right to start Sunday at Ohio Wesleyan, Hasbrouck said, “Not thinking too far ahead right now, I think it would be tough not to start Scott with the way he played.”
Marsh said he would support whatever decision Hasbrouck came to.
“Joey’s been playing great all year,” Marsh said. “He’s had a couple mishaps, but that’s going to happen. Things like this happen to goalies all the time. If Coach thinks that’s the best thing for the team, then that’s the way we should go. But I’ll be ready no matter what.”
*After opening the season with a 2-1 start that included a 13-12 upset of then-No. 11 Roanoke, St. Mary’s has dropped three straight contests. Hasbrouck acknowledged that the team’s mood has dipped. “We’re a little wounded right now,” he said. “But this is arguably the greatest group of kids that I’ve coached, and I know they will bounce back. As I told them, we’ve earned the right to get everybody’s best game, and that’s because we’ve improved and gotten better. We need to now prepare with the mindset that no matter who we play, they’re going to come out with the best game. I think we’re very capable of winning a lot of games. … We’ll turn it around. They’re extremely resilient, and they’ve worked hard.” Senior attackman Patrick Mull said the players haven’t lost hope on turning things around when the team delves into its Capital Athletic Conference schedule in seven days. “We’re working hard every day in practice, and we’ve got some great opportunities coming up with Ohio Wesleyan up next and then conference play starts pretty soon after that,” the Fallston native and graduate said. “The season’s far from over. We’ve got nine games left. So we’ve got a ways to go.”
*With one goal and two assists against Denison, Mull has recorded five goals and 14 assists. No one else among the Seahawks has more than three assists, which suggests that Mull is the offense’s primary playmaker. But Mull shrugged off the notion that he feels any pressure to spark the offense. “We have a lot of guys that can play, and we’re a dynamic offense,” he said. “If there’s any pressure, I don’t feel like I have to do it on my own because we have a ton of guys that can get it done. But obviously, scoring six goals is not good. So we need to figure out how to generate more opportunities, and we need to shoot better.”
*The Big Red (4-1) has found a goalie in freshman Chris Thomas. The Cockeysville native and Loyola graduate was suddenly thrust into the starting role after senior Nick Petracca decided not to return. “It was tough in the beginning, but I think our last game helped me out the most,” Thomas said. “It was a triple overtime against Haverford, and before that, the nerves were definitely getting to me. After that game, I just feel a lot more comfortable. In this game, I just so much more comfortable than I ever have before.” Thomas has a .490 save percentage and his 5.73 goals-against average is more of a product of a stingy defense anchored by junior defenseman Tommy Harrison and junior long-stick midfielder Austin Campbell. But coach Mike Caravana said Thomas’ experience in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association has helped him play calmly. “The competition in that league is outstanding. So Chris is used to that challenge of being ready to play each and every game, which is a big difference for some of the kids from outlying areas where maybe once a week they play a big game,” Caravana said. “So his poise and his experience with that have given him some confidence. … He’s been able to step up for us and has played very. He hasn’t played outstanding, but he’s been very good in all of our games that we’ve played.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun